I’ve really had my soul fed by a couple of sermons you can grab for free off the web…
Matt Chandler has been working his way through Colossians. This sermon, Covenant with the Eternal Son, based on Colossians 1:15-18 was helpful, especially in his talking about why we study theology at one point. I would encourage you to take a listen.
Rick Gamache up at Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Minneapolis is preaching through 1 Peter. His sermon this past week, War and Witness, from 1 Peter 2:11-17 really gave good insight for indwelling sin and our war against it. He also wrestled with Scripture calling us to honor the emporer and what that means for us today. Really excellent message.
From Octavius Winslow’s Morning Thoughts for March 1. Meditating on John 5:39, he writes:
The word of God is full of Christ. He is the Sun of this divine system, the Fountain of its light and beauty. Every doctrine derives its substance from His person, every precept its force from His work, every promise its sweetness from His love. Is it not to be feared, that in the study of the Scriptures it is a much-forgotten truth that they testify of Jesus? Are they not read, searched, and examined, with a mind too little intent upon adding to its wealth by an increased knowledge of His person, and character, and work? And thus it is we lower the character of the Bible. We may read it as a mere uninspired record; we may study it as a book of human literature. Its antiquity may interest us, its history may inform us, its philosophy may instruct us, its poetry may charm us; and thus, while skimming the surface of this Book of books, the glorious Christ, who is its substance, its subject, its sweetness, its worth- and but for whom there had been no Bible- has been deeply and darkly veiled from the eye.
But it is the office of the blessed and eternal Spirit to unfold, and so to glorify, Jesus in the Word. All that we spiritually and savingly learn of Him, through this revealed medium, is by the sole teaching of the Holy Spirit, opening up this word to the mind. He shows how all the luminous lines of Scripture truth emanate from, return to, and center in, Christ- how all the doctrines set forth the glory of His person, how all the promises are written in His heart’s blood, and how all the precepts are embodied in His life.
I hope your heart is warmed by these thoughts and drawn to love Jesus more and more.
Last year, at our Missions Conference, we had Freddy T Wyatt in from the Gallery Church, NYC, NY. You might remember our weekend was almost snowed out, but we were able to gather and hear from Freddy on Sunday night. Here’s a video shout out from Freddy to us…
I thought we had a great Sunday yesterday. My sermon was on Colossians 1:28 entitled Proclaiming Christ. This text really compelled us to be those who are speaking truth about Jesus (as opposed to simply “living a life that tells something” whatever that means). Specifically, we are told to speaking words of warning, instruction and communicate with purpose.
We ended by “proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes” in the Lord’s Supper. It was a fitting way to say something about Jesus.
Hope you all had a great Lord’s Day as well.
Was a full day at the conference, but I am finally back in the hotel and done with the conference. It was a full day, but so rich with such amazing content, challenging us to be better pastors.
Ray Van Neste got us rolling this AM. After dispensing with some common questions about how we go about shepherding and overseeing, this session got at some practical things including, among other things: praying systematically for people, teaching them our duty as pastors and having a plurality of leadership committed to caring for people. Doing this makes us more human and actually helps our sanctification.
Session 5 was Phil Newton doing an exposition of Acts 20:28-31. We have a need we can’t dismiss, with external attacks upon the body and deceit within the body. We also have a duty we cannot neglect, being on guard, shepherding the church of God and being alert to the schemes of our enemy. We are to do what God has called us to do so that God’s purposes are worked out in the body.
Tom Ascol returned after our lunch break encouraging a Gospel-Shaped Ministry. His outline was 4 ways Christ and ministry work together to shape Christian ministry:
1) The Lordship of Christ establishes the nature of ministry.
2) The sufficiency of Christ liberates us from self-consciousness in ministry.
3) The example of Christ calls us to self-denying consecration in ministry.
4) The glory of Christ delivers us from small-minded superficial success in ministry.
This sermon really functioned to get at how our modern ministry ethic is faulty and how we need to turn to the Lord. We must shape our ministry in Him.
Ray Van Neste returned with an exposition of Exodus 32 on the title “Shepherding A Rebellious People”. This sermon showed how people (including us) are rebellious, how we should not function as leaders (looking at Aaron) and how we should function (looking at Moses). I loved how Ray ended this ministry pointing us to the Chief Shepherd Himself, how we need Him to atone. This sermon really helped codify the content and bring it to focus. It was a great historical example of the principles we have observed.
Finally, Tom Ascol returned with a talk on Colossians 1:28. Jesus Christ is the Pastor’s message. The goal of preaching is the perfection of our people (in Christ). The content of our preaching is simply HIM. And the manner of our preaching includes warning, teaching and wisdom. We must preach and have Christ work in our hearts to pass this on to others.
All is all, this conference was a huge blessing and a reminder of some great things. I was encouraged that there are some things that we do well and humbled by things we don’t do well. If you are able to, I would try and access the Twitter feed and check out additional content. And, if you are reading this, pray that I would be the shepherd that God would have me be.
If you follow the blog, you know I’m in STL for a Shepherding Conference. The men I am here with and I got up and headed out for some lunch before registration, visiting historic downtown St. Charles, which was the First State Capital of Missouri, down on the Missouri River. After lunch, we headed to FBC St. Peters, MO for the conference.
The first session was by Phil Newton on 2 Corinthians 6:1 and following. It was entitled Pastoral Ministry, Part 1. Among other things, we were called to synchronization in ministry and dependability in ministry. It was one of the best messages I’ve heard on the list of afflictions in 2 Corinthians 6 and they were brought with great clarity to bear on pastoral ministry.
After a short break, Ray Van Neste (who blogs at Oversight of Souls) spoke on Oversight of Souls, Part 1. After highlighting how this practice of shepherding has waned in our day, Ray pointed us back to the Scriptures where we are told to shepherd the flock of God, give oversight. This talk was covered with Scriptural and historical examples. To put it simply: oversight of souls is the heart of pastoral ministry was the point of this talk.
Then, after dinner, Tom Ascol came and preached on how we should exemplify Gospel-Saturated Preaching. My heart resonated with this talk: I was convicted, I was encouraged and really benefitted from it. Ascol encouraged 3 aspects of Gospel proclamation: Who Jesus is, what He’s done and Why it matters. I found this helpful. His outline was: 1) We are to preach Christ exclusively — this is the one and only message we need to proclaim to everyone. 2) We are to preach Christ inclusively — both in evangelistic ways and in our most practical of preaching.
This was followed up by a Q & A, in which all men were humbly honest and excellent in answering questions prepared for them.
I’m full from a good day of teaching, and anticipating more good things tomorrow.
I am using Mark Weathers’ book, How To Pray for Your Wife as a devotional aid. In it, we are directed in praying for our wives based on Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31:26 begins “she opens her mouth with wisdom.” The particular meditation on this day was so helpful, but especially when he defined gossip and slander. I have a hard time sometimes knowing exactly when I am slipping into these sins of speech. Here’s the definitions he offered:
Gossip – speaking incriminating truth about someone
Slander – speaking incriminating lies about someone
(taken from pp. 111-2)
Next time you are tempted to drift into this, remember these definitions and speak in a way that glorifies God.
Today, I leave for St. Louis with some guys for the conference Pastoral Ministry: Shepherding God’s Flock at FBC St. Peters, MO (a church I was on staff at from 94-96, during my college days). It looks to be a good time. Here’s the updated schedule:
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
1:30 “Pastoral Ministry” Dr. Phil Newton
3:30 “Oversight of Souls: The Heart of Pastoral Ministry” Part 1 Dr. Ray Van Neste
6:30 “Gospel Saturated Preaching” Dr. Tom Ascol
Q & A Panel Discussion after Tuesday Evening session
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
9:00 “Oversight of Souls: The Heart of Pastoral Ministry” Part 2 Dr. Ray Van Neste
10:30 “Pastoral Ministry” Dr. Phil Newton
1:30 “Gospel Shaped Ministry” Dr. Tom Ascol
3:30 “Shepherding a Rebellious People” Dr. Ray Van Neste
6:30 “Jesus Christ: The Pastor’s Message” Dr. Tom Ascol
Pray for humility for all the pastors present (since we tend to think we are doing better than we are) and for good fellowship among those present.